Cochlear Implants: Candidacy & Outcomes in a South African Context

Cochlear implants are one of the most cost-effective interventions available. They provide the potential for children with severe to profound hearing loss to acquire spoken language and access a wider range of schooling options. They enable adults with significant hearing loss to communicate through hearing and thus improve their employment options. Despite this, only a small fraction of those who could benefit from cochlear implants actually receive them. 

Up-to-date cochlear implant candidacy guidelines will be presented as well as an overview of the evaluation process to determine cochlear implant candidacy. Considerations around binaural, bilateral and bimodal hearing as well as cochlear implants in single sided deafness will be discussed. Prognostic factors that assist in predicting outcomes from cochlear implants will be explored, highlighting the importance of careful counselling prior to cochlear implantation. 

Chris Hani Barwagwanath Academic Hospital Cochlear Implant Programme provides cochlear implant services to patients within the public sector. Our patient profile and outcomes will be described, providing a glimpse into the South African burden of disease and the potential for cochlear implants in the broader South African population.

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